It is commendable that the Punjab government and Novartis Pharma have taken the initiative to relieve the misery of those afflicted by deadly non-communicable diseases. The Memorandum of Understanding between the two requires that the pharmaceutical company would provide medicines worth six billion rupees against a basket price of one dollar . This must be recognized both on the national and international level. 

In Pakistan where the current annual budget for health is just Rs22 billion and thousands die due to lack of proper medication and shortage of funds, Novartis Pharma would be helping those suffering from cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Initially the program would benefit 350,000 persons that would subsequently cross the million mark. The aim is to help ailing humanity to tackle the deadly diseases in a timely and effective manner. 

Today, when inflation and unemployment in Pakistan is high and it is difficult for the ordinary people to afford a two-time meal, helping the poor and needy by providing free medicines that would otherwise cost millions is a remarkable gesture. Other sectors whether pharmaceuticals, oil, automobiles or textiles, executing such welfare jobs would help people to deal with the deadly diseases and they would also be rewarded by Allah. 

KASHIF MUSTAFA QADRI,  

Karachi, November 16.